Live Review: Shamir + Jess Kent – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney (11.02.16)

In the country as a part of the touring St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival, Las Vegan Indie Dance Popper Shamir graced the stage of the Oxford Art Factory and rightly showed his Sydney fans a real good time.

Opening up the balmy Thursday night was local artist Jess Kent. Having started the year with a debut performance at Field Day, Kent is definitely one to watch. Her unique blend of hip-hop, reggae and pop is exactly what’s good about current new music. This motley crew and mash up of genres made Kent’s performance way too infectious to not enjoy. With nods to a young Lily Allen and a definite comparison in sound to the likes of Santigold and MIA, Jess Kent put on stellar half hour support slot that most definitely gained a few more fans. Obvious standouts from a fire set were lead single “Get Down” and her featured spot on Paces’ track “1993 (No Chill)”.

Entering to a near capacity crowd, Shamir and band (or ‘project’ as he so politely called it) played a set of upbeat dance tracks that encouraged the crowd to get ‘ratchet’ and simply enjoy their Thursday evening. Opening the set with an ode to his hometown, “Vegas” got things off to a great start as the crowd eased their way into a hot and sweaty set. It was a good thing that the crowd slowly warmed up, as the next hour was laced with bangers and party jams aplenty.

Moving into the night, Shamir and the four piece band swiftly dropped lead and best known single “On The Regular”, with the crowd frothing on the opening cowbell. It’s a pretty bloody catchy track, that’s for sure. One thing to take away from the set was the tightness of the band. From his hype girl/ back up singer, to the keyboardist, bassist and the drummer, Shamir and band surely know a thing or two about keeping it tight.

Despite what I’ve just said about accuracy of the band, “Hot Mess” definitely lived up to its title. It was the track of the night that kept the energy of the crowd going, having possibly peaked prematurely at “On The Regular”. Slowing things down with “KC”, this showed a more tender side to Shamir; something slightly removed from the energy and franticness of the other live tracks.

Closing out the main set with “Call It Off” and “Head In The Clouds”, Shamir more than justified the hype that has been around his live show for the past couple of years. Here’s hoping the energy within the Sydney crowd continues to transfer to other live settings, whether that be on the remainder of Laneway or back in his native Las Vegas.


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